When just a boy, a thin, tousle-headed boy, he lost his word.

People told him what to do, and where to stand, and how to think, and just the way to wear his pants so he would not look out of place, and he thought maybe he should decide these things for himself, but he couldn’t find his word. So he went along.

One day, he got his stupid fashionable pants caught in the chain of his bicycle. Crash! Came down his bike. Smash! He fell flat on the pavement. It hurt a lot, and his eyes watered, but still he couldn’t find his word.

A few days later, he was standing where he was told to stand, trying to think the thoughts he’d been told to think, when a girl walked up to him with a question.

“Have you seen my reasons? I think somebody took them. I can’t find them anywhere.”

He said he’d help her look.

They looked in hallways, and they looked in trash cans. They even looked on the ramp behind the school. But they could not find her reasons.

“I lost my word, too,” he told her.

“At least you have other ones,” she said. “Those were all my reasons.”

They walked along in silence a minute longer, before he said, “I have some paper, and some colored pencils. Let’s make some new reasons.”

She smiled at him, her eyes sparkling.

“‘New reasons’… that’s a pretty good word you’ve got there.”

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